RALEIGH, N.C. -- A bogus Florida law firm, which claimed it would reduce consumers’ debts by more than half, has been barred from debt-relief work in North Carolina. Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that under a consent judgment approved by Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning,
The Consumer Law Group of Boca Raton has agreed to pay $600,000 in refunds to North Carolina customers who paid the company for help getting out of debt. “Debt relief scams take advantage of struggling consumers, adding to their burden instead of helping them get out of debt,” Cooper said. “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to win money back for these
consumers, money that can hopefully help them pay off bills and get on better financial footing.”
The $600,000 payout is on top of approximately $600,000 worth of charges the company agreed not to collect from North Carolina customers. An additional $50,000 will help cover the state's costs for work on the case. The judgment bars CLG from marketing, soliciting or offering a debt-settlement or debt-negotiation services in North Carolina. CLG is also prohibited from claiming that its services are government-sponsored, performed by attorneys, or provide legal representation for consumers.
Cooper’s office filed suit against CLG in October 2010 after a probe determined that more than 650 North Carolina consumers had paid CLG for debt-relief work but gotten little or no help in return. People can continue to file complaints about CLG or other debt-relief companies by calling the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina, or filling out a consumer complaint form at www.ncdoj.gov.
“Don’t pay an upfront fee for help getting out of debt,” Cooper said.
“For real help getting your debts under control, meet with a qualified non-profit credit counselor in your local community, who won’t charge you a big fee.”
For help finding an accredited, non-profit credit counselor, contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 1-800-388-2227 or www.nfcc.org.